It’s funny…I was already thinking about writing this blog as I was driving this morning…but then, on that drive, an even more poignant reason to do so occurred.
First, I feel like I should clarify something. I keep explaining my diagnosis of POTS as a heart condition. There are a few reasons for that:
- POTS most affects the body with cardiac related symptoms.
- My diagnosis came about because of those cardiac related symptoms.
- I can’t pronounce what it really is…lol POTS is a form of dysautonomia — a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. This branch of the nervous system regulates functions we don’t consciously control, such as heart rate, blood pressure, sweating and body temperature. (Copy/pasted that shit! 😆)
Pointless to this post, but I felt like I should put that out there since I’ve been writing about it.
ANYWAYS…I honestly think I’ve stayed pretty positive about this. I’ve always been a Silver Linings kind of girl…I believe you can find the positive in just about anything if you try hard enough.
And…if you can find the positive…you WILL survive and thrive through it.
So…I’m struggling with this a lot more than I’ve let on. The medicine that treats the heart issue messes with my asthma and decreases my blood pressure. I’m CONSTANTLY dizzy. And it’s honestly pretty freaking scary when everything suddenly goes black.
BUT…As always, my silver lined heart is focusing on the good…it’s finding the positive…and it’s using those positives to fight.
The silver linings here…well…a diagnosis is a name and a plan. I can fight an enemy with a name and a plan. Plus, it explains symptoms I’ve dealt with for years..and gives me hope of them being treated. And…as much as people like to give me a hard time for working out too much…it’s nice to be able to stick my tongue out at them and tell them it’s my medicine. 👅
But the biggest silver lining is one I would never have expected.
I have PTSD. I came by it honestly and earned it. That’s for sure. You don’t find out on the side of the road at midnight at 10 years old that you were kidnapped and your whole life (even your name) was a lie without some trauma and some new coping mechanisms. But…I always thought my rather severe anxiety in the past 20 years or so was because of my PTSD. Until last week…I had my med check for my anxiety meds. My psychiatrist is AMAZING and HILARIOUS. LOVE HIM!! So, during this appointment he asked what had been going on the past couple of months and I filled him in. His response?
“Oh…wow…I’m going to miss you…”
I laughed, but nervously…and asked if he was trying to tell me I was going to die…
“No. I’m going to miss you because I believe we’re going to find that you don’t have anxiety.”
He laughed. He said I’m actually an appointment he really looks forward to because I’m so interesting. He knows I wish my life was LESS interesting and a little more boring, but I’m still very interesting and funny because of it. He said I DO have PTSD. BUT…
“Heart rate and anxiety are very closely linked. Most people get anxious and their heart rate increases. But you…I think we’re going to find that your erratic heart rate was making your body believe it was anxious. I think that now that your heart rate will be normal…you’re going to find that you’re not anxious anymore.”
I thought about it. Since the first dose of beta blockers, I haven’t felt anxious. I’m not freaking out…I’m not overthinking…I feel ZERO worries of how people are responding and if it means they’re mad at me…I don’t feel a neurotic urge to be seen solely so I won’t disappear. I seriously don’t feel anxious AT ALL for the first time in 20 years.
And…this morning that was truly tested by my biggest trigger…
I passed an Amber Alert on the highway.
I saw it. I caught my breath. I waited for the panic to hit.
But it never did.
I felt the usual sadness. I felt the anxiety of knowing, like others can’t, what that child is feeling and will deal with forever now. I felt the catch in my heart and breath…I felt the anxiety of rememberance…
But I did not feel the need to run and hide.
Do you know what it’s like to spend your life being scared? Do you know what it’s like to live that life knowing that the majority of people can’t understand your fear…and never will…and don’t understand why you can’t just let it go?
I hope you don’t, but it’s Hell.
I still have that. That is still a part of me. Like I said, I earned it. But I realized today that there’s a chance that it will no longer rule my life. There’s a chance that I can live a more peaceful existence.
All because Silver Linings Girl now has a Silver Lined Heart.